David R. Hoffman
If there is one compelling question in modern history, that question is: “How, during the last century, could the nation of Germany, with a rich history that produced some of the world’s most renowned philosophers, scholars, artists, inventors and musicians, have succumbed so readily to the machinations of a madman like Adolf Hitler?”
Germany, after all, was not an isolated culture susceptible to superstition, nor was it plagued by a poor educational system or lack of contact with the outside world. Yet, despite all of these positives, many well-meaning people entrusted their families, their futures, their nation and even their lives to a man whose maniacal lust for power brought them nothing but suffering, warfare, torture, and injustice.
While there may be several answers to the above question, one reality is clear: Hitler’s Germany arose when the perfect combination of anger, bellicosity, fear and hatred coalesced to make the masses receptive to the “allure of fascism.”
Historians disagree on who carried out the Reichstag Fire/9-11 Attacks. Van der Lubbe/bin Laden acting alone? A Communist/Saudi plot? Or the Nazis/Neocons themselves? They will all agree, however, that Hitler/Bush manipulated them to subvert and destroy democracy in Europe/America.
Flash forward to the year 2004, and the machinations of George W. Bush, and it is not difficult to perceive how this same allure is now engulfing America. As I stated in previous articles, two fundamental tactics of fascism - scapegoating and the repetition of “great lies” - have been openly utilized by both Bush and the deceitful, venal, hypocritical war criminals that personify his corruptly appointed dictatorship.
Saddam Hussein became the scapegoat for the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, even though there was no evidence to link him to these attacks. Great lies were then disseminated about Hussein’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” and his capability to use them. This, in turn, ignited in the majority of Americans, and in the profit-driven, corporate-controlled media, the jingoistic spirit that ultimately led to the “preemptive” invasion of Iraq - an invasion that United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, recently denounced as illegal.
But perhaps the “greatest lie ever told” by the Bush dictatorship is that its megalomaniacal, bloodthirsty, cowardly, thieving, deceitful, hypocritical leader is somehow a “Christian.” Even a cursory examination of Bush’s legacy demonstrates that he has more in common with Pontius Pilate, the executioner of Jesus Christ, than with the gentle soul from Nazareth.
Pilate zealously exploited the death penalty to increase his grip on power. Bush, while governor of Texas, executed over one hundred and fifty people to bolster his political career. Pilate, as demonstrated by Christ’s crucifixion, had little regard for whether those condemned to death were guilty or innocent. Bush routinely denied requests from death-row inmates for independent DNA testing that could have established their innocence, then boasted about the “infallibility” of the Texas criminal justice system and how “no innocent person” had been executed “under his watch.”
Yet in August of 2003, thirty-five defendants, primarily African-American and all tried under Texas “law,” were pardoned after it was discovered that perjured testimony had been used to convict them. More recently, a report in USA TODAY (8/6/04) revealed that the DNA unit of the crime lab in Harris County, Texas, where the City of Houston is located, had to be closed down in 2002 because of “irregularities in the way technicians were trained, handled evidence, interpreted tests and kept records.” And in Angelina County, Texas, on August 20, 2004, after more than forty-one years in prison, Robert Carroll Coney was released after it was revealed that his confession had been extracted by torture.
Pilate, through his minions, avidly used torture. Bush, through his minions, avidly used torture at places like Abu Ghraib prison, while the CIA concealed dozens of “ghost detainees” from Red Cross monitors. Pilate committed atrocities against an occupied people. Bush continues to commit atrocities against an occupied people, having murdered, at last count, over ten thousand Iraqi civilians around Baghdad alone.
Furthermore, the Bush dictatorship’s policies and practices bear no resemblance to the teachings of the Christian faith. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Bush brags about being a “wartime president.” Jesus was willing to suffer and die for his beliefs. Bush causes the suffering and death of others, yet during the Vietnam era was too cowardly to risk his own life, choosing instead to use his family’s wealth and influence to perform some nebulous National Guard “duties.”
Many of the disciples who followed Jesus also suffered and died. Bush surrounds himself with cowards like Dick (five deferments) Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft and Karl Rove, all of whom avoided military service through deferments or other schemes, yet all of whom are willing to callously sacrifice the lives of others. Jesus proclaimed it is as difficult for the rich to get into Heaven as it is for a camel to travel through the eye of a needle.
Bush gives tax breaks to the rich, and calls them his “support base,” while Cheney gorges himself on war profits through links with corporations where he has financial interests. Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. Bush’s policies caused over one million Americans to lose their health insurance last year alone. The inevitable result will undoubtedly be more sickness and premature death. Jesus consistently rejected the reins of mortal power. Bush used his cronies on the United States Supreme Court to steal such power. In fact the only link Bush has to Christ’s teachings is that he personifies the very hypocrisy, corruption, counterfeit piety and self-serving exploitation of religion that Jesus so openly condemned. There is no doubt that America, and the world, would be a much better place without so-called “Christians” like George W. Bush.
But even if one does not subscribe to the notion that religious hypocrisy is enough to disqualify Bush from office, the so-called “successes” he boasts of are not successes at all.
Bush blusters incessantly about his ability to wage the “war against terrorism.” Yet fighting terrorism was given low priority during the early months of his dictatorship. He also ignored warnings about the potential for terrorist attacks on American soil, and rumors still persist that Bush and his minions actually welcomed the September 11th, 2001 attacks, since they could be exploited as an excuse to invade Iraq, something the Bush dictatorship had planned on doing immediately after the coup of 2000.
And Bush’s so-called “war on terror” has actually resulted in more injustice than justice, ranging from the torture of those detained shortly after the September 11th attacks, to the wrongful arrest of an Oregon attorney, and the trials of four Detroit-area men whose convictions were overturned after it was discovered that the prosecution had withheld evidence that tended to support the men’s claim of innocence.
Yet America’s woefully inept Attorney General, John Ashcroft, continues to exaggerate and even lie about the extent of terrorist threats and the reasons behind indictments for terrorism, while the FBI, armed with police powers unheard of since its COINTELPRO days, when political activists were spied upon, falsely imprisoned and even murdered, continues to lack the decency to face its corruption or admit its mistakes. In the Detroit case, Special FBI Agent in Charge Daniel Roberts went so far as to congratulate his staff for their “excellent investigative work,” even as other government officials questioned the accuracy of the trial testimony provided by FBI agents.
In addition, as long as Bush remains in office, the precedent of “unilateral preemption” will continue to exist. Precedents, as those who work in the legal system know, are designed to be followed, and poor precedents can open a proverbial Pandora’s box of suffering and injustice.
When the Bush dictatorship launched its “preemptive” invasion of Iraq, it made the use of war a first response instead of a final option. In addition, by acting in defiance of international law and opinion, by ignoring negotiations and diplomacy, by lying to the world, by failing to give United Nations inspectors sufficient time to complete their work, the Bush dictatorship demonstrated not only its myopia and arrogance, but also its contempt for people in other nations.
Now that myopia, arrogance and contempt may arise to haunt the Bush dictatorship, as other nations are seizing upon the precedent of unilateral preemption. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed a willingness to employ this strategy in response to the tragic school siege at Beslan, where scores of children were killed. Not surprisingly Putin has denounced the hypocrisy of the Bush dictatorship for wanting him to engage in “negotiations” instead.
Thanks to the Bush dictatorship, “unilateral preemption” is now a living, breathing reality in today’s world, ready to be seized upon not only by nations with legitimate security issues or concerns, but by any nation that is willing, like the Bush dictatorship, to lie and manufacture artificial “threats” to justify preemptive strikes.
Logic would dictate that the only way this Pandora’s box can be closed is with a new leader in Washington, who can renounce the myopia, recklessness and arrogance of the Bush dictatorship and make it clear that without UN approval and/or a strong international coalition, the United States will never again engage in preemptive wars.
One argument currently being forwarded to rationalize Bush’s election (not reelection, because Bush was never elected in the first place) is the adage, “You don’t change horses in the middle of a stream.” With troops bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq, many Americans are contending that the nation should not change leaders as long as the quagmire persists.
The illogic of this argument is obvious. It was the Bush dictatorship’s incompetence, ignorance, arrogance, unilateralism and myopia that caused this quagmire. Do Americans want a system where all one has to do to get elected is start an illegal war and then drag it on until elections are over?
Clearly if Bush were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a publicly-held corporation, and the shareholders were seeing that his policies and practices were driving the firm into bankruptcy, there would be no hesitation in demanding his ouster. If ignorance and incompetence are not tolerated in the private financial sector, where only money is at stake, why should it be tolerated in the public sector when thousands of lives are at risk?
With all of these reasons to cast off the shackles of the Bush dictatorship, one must ask, “Why are the polls regarding the presidential election so close?” Logic would seem to dictate that Bush’s character, dishonesty and hypocrisy make him unfit to be the leader of arguably the most powerful nation on earth.
This question can be answered by looking at the third, and perhaps most effective, tactic of fascism, and one the Bush dictatorship has consistently exploited: Hitler’s hypothesis that “[t]he driving force of the most important changes in the world have been found less in scientific knowledge animating the masses but rather in a fanaticism dominating them and in a hysteria which drives them forward.” Stated another way, emotion is more powerful than logic in motivating the masses, and appeals to human nature’s basest instincts are the most powerful motivators of all.
Bush has used America’s perfect combination of anger, bellicosity, fear and hatred, fueled by the September 11th attacks, to blind Americans to the depths of his evil. He and those in his dictatorship are some of the most depraved human beings on the face of the earth, and they may, either directly or indirectly, be the biggest threat to world peace and stability since Adolf Hitler.
What makes this threat even more imminent is the prospect of the lone voice of reason in the Bush dictatorship, Secretary of State Colin Powell, not retaining his position if Bush wins (or steals) the upcoming election. While Powell has always publicly shuffled obediently behind “Massa Bush,” privately he has been a voice of restraint, and possesses the military experience and expertise that most in the Bush dictatorship lack. With his voice silenced, who knows what other evils will spring forth from this newly opened Pandora’s box.
Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Evil has triumphed in America, and if it continues on its apocalyptic course, soon there will be nothing that good people can do.